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Tesla chooses KT for telematics

All 3 Korean telecoms scramble to link up with car companies
June 30,2017
KT, the second largest telecommunication provider in Korea, is reportedly in talks with Elon Musk’s Tesla to offer connected car technology for Tesla’s vehicles released in Korea.

“According to sources, KT recently inked a contract with Tesla to provide telematics system,” said a report by Hanwha Investment & Securities. Telematics connects wireless communications with the satellite and navigation systems of a vehicle. The system enables drivers to monitor the location and movement of the vehicle and also enjoy telecommunication services including entertainment.

It was confirmed that KT was chosen as the network service provider in Korea for the American electric car maker, which began deliveries of its Model S 90D in Korea this month.

“It’s true that we are working with Tesla,” said a source from the telecommunication provider. “However, we cannot disclose any other detail due to a non-disclosure agreement.”

The partnership with Tesla is KT’s latest effort to expand its connected-car business.

“To operate telematics-related services on a vehicle, network connectivity is mandatory and KT was chosen as the network service provider for Tesla,” the report by Hanwha added.

KT has also teamed up with Korea’s top automaker, Hyundai Motor, to provide it with a telematics service known as “BlueLink.” In February this year, KT and German carmaker Mercedes-Benz announced they will launch a connected-car service based on KT’s wireless platform called “Mercedes Connected Me.” The wireless system links the driver, vehicle and a service center to provide various safety and convenience solutions.

Other telecommunication providers are scrambling to get ahead in the connected-car market.

Korea’s top mobile company, SK Telecom, has joined forces with another German automobile company BMW to create a 5G-based connected car service. Hyundai’s sister company Kia Motors also signed a partnership with SKT for its connected car service “UVO.”

LG U+ is working with SsangYong Motor and the IT unit of Mahindra & Mahindra, the largest shareowner of SsangYong, to develop a telematics platform.


BY CHOI HYUNG-JO [choi.hyungjo@joongang.co.kr]